Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Every day is Halloween on ‘Monster Man’

March 14, 2012

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Around the time they turn 13, boys are supposed to put their toys away. This never occurred to Cleve Hall, an old-fashioned effects expert for Hollywood films. He’s the “star” of the reality series “Monster Man” (10 p.m., Syfy).

If you need a special monster or weird alien for your movie, you turn to Hall and his company, Sota FX. Actually, it’s not his company; he works for friends who barely tolerate his lack of punctuality. In addition to his bosses, he works with his two daughters and his ex-wife. If you follow these occupational docu-sitcoms, you’ve seen this dynamic before.

Did I mention he drives a hearse to work?

Along the way, we meet filmmaker Sean S. Cunningham (”Friday the 13th”), who hires Hall to create a prosthetic that will allow Cunningham to direct a scene involving conjoined twins being separated in a particularly grisly manner. It has to look real but spurt lots of blood and gore at the critical moment. And the scene can be shot only once. This assignment should appeal to fans of “Face Off” (9 p.m., Syfy), which airs its finale tonight.

I couldn’t help noticing that cult movie director Cunningham dresses like a grown-up, while Hall has the full-bore geekiness of a fanboy. It’s enough to make you feel embarrassed for his daughters.

Later, Hall is assigned the job of creating a two- headed shark and needs to familiarize himself with sharks’ behavior. Rather than scour footage of the deep-sea predator (from, say, 20 years of “Shark Weeks”), he insists on donning a wet suit and entering a shark cage. It’s at this point that even the most brain-deadened reality TV fan has to realize that the producers are just wasting time to pad out the hour. And it’s at this point that “Monster Man” jumps the shark.

• The 16th season of “South Park” (9 p.m., Comedy Central) arrives with yet another topical and scabrous cartoon cobbled together too close to its air date to be reviewed here. The animated, supernatural absurdity of “Ugly Americans” (9:30 p.m., Comedy Central) follows.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Director Martin Scorsese recalls “the quiet Beatle” in the 2011 biography “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” (7 p.m., HBO2).

• The top 12 contestants sing to survive on “American Idol” (7 p.m., Fox). For those keeping score, Jeremy Rosado was sent home last week. Famous “Idol” veteran Chris Daughtry performs on Thursday night’s results show.

• Cameron runs into an old pal (Bobby Cannavale) from clown college on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).

• A hefty woman uses special powers to exact revenge in the 2011 action-comedy “Blubberella” (8:30 p.m., TMC), directed by Uwe Boll.

• A murder victim’s image becomes an Internet sensation on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS).

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